3/29/2010

A while back, I wrote about the implausibility of Wolverine's claws, specifically their length. There's an excellent article at Comic Vine that tries to explain how exactly the claws work. The funny thing about it (to me) is how many other problems they had to solve while coming up with a solution. A partial list:
  1. Every time Wolverine retracts his claws, any blood, dirt, or other materials still stuck on them would be drawn into his arms, potentially causing infections and sepsis.
  2. Wolverine's claws are made of metal, which means they're heavier than his arms. That means that when retracted, his claws would keep sliding around inside his arms, slicing his forearms up from the inside.
  3. If Wolverine's claws came out while pressed up against something solid like concrete or titanium, they would get pushed back into his arms. I know what you're thinking; "No way, he'd just punch right through that!" Yes, he could...if the muscles that pushed his claws out were super-strong, but they're not. Wolverine only has normal strength, and the muscles on his claws are only as strong as he is.
  4. If Wolverine's claws popped out from between his fingers, like they did in the movie, he wouldn't be able to use his fingers. And the claws would slice off his fingers.
  5. On the same note, Wolverine's claws can't be extended unless his wrists were perfectly straight. If he did, the claws would come out of his wrists instead of the backs of his hands.
  6. Wolverine's claws and skeleton may be indestructible, but the muscles that control and hold them are not. That means there's one way to incapacitate and disarm Wolverine easily - rip his claws out of his arms.
The biggest problem with the Comic Vine explanation is that it's clear there's no way his claws could develop and evolve on their own. There would need to be clear design involved in his claws to solve these problems. That's why the idea that Wolverine was born with his bone claws makes even less sense.

Do you think Wolverine's claws make sense? Or is it okay because they're cool?
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21 comments:

mauricem said...

Good points. I, like many others, just assume that if animals have claws why not people? Unfortuately, the answer is more complicated than that. It just goes to show that, like midi-chlorians, some things are better left unexplained.

tina said...

LMAO "Wolverine's claws and skeleton may be indestructible, but the muscles that control and hold them are not. That means there's one way to incapacitate and disarm Wolverine easily - rip his claws out of his arms."
thats so unfortunate ahhaha

Anonymous said...

 Although his claws are obviously far from logical, I'm surprised to see infection listed as an issue. Did it cross no one's mind that his real mutation would render that mute? If he could push a bullet out of his head (second movie) I don't see why some dirt in his arms would be a problem.

Anonymous said...

Also as to the weight of his claws....unlike most metals adimantium is very light..

Ttandc Hotmail said...

1. One of his mutant powers is an EXTREMELY good healing factor. This means no infections or sepsis. The fact that he doesn't die of metal poisoning should tell you just how good it is.
2. Wolverines ENTIRE skeleton is made of a metal alloy that bonded with his original bones. Do you not know that their are metals out there that weigh less than your bones do!? Bones slide around and cut his insides!? Ever seen a lion or tiger die from internal bleeding when their claws retracted? Cause not. Their bodies, just like wolverines are built to contain their claws securely and safely. He doesn't have the same skeletal structure we have in our arms. Remember, he's a mutant!
3. Don't go by the so called "lore" on the websites they are more often than not wrong. Even the Marvel website has been criticized for their inaccurate information. He has been said to have super human strength in the comics many times. Sadly the people that put up the bios and info on the websites rarely read the comics.
4&5.The movie is a joke, the studios must believe we are all idiots and would think nothing of the changes they made to the character. In the comic the claws ALWAYS came out of the back of his hand, just above the wrist. But if your talking about where on the skeleton did they extrude from, then yes the answer is the wrist. At an incline to the main forearm bones.
6. Read the comic and count how many have tried. Remember his claws are not his only abilities. Rip out the claws and his healing factor will grow them back. Already been done a few times in the comics.

Nigel Mitchell said...

1. That's a fair point

2. Good analogy with lion claws, except lion claws have sheaths to hold them, and are only an inch or so long. We're talking about seven-inch razorsharp blades embedded in his forearms. Comicvine imagined that he has metal sheaths in his forearms to hold the blades in place, which adds another layer of complexity that I found funny. We really have to re-configure Wolverine's whole physiology to get the claws to work out.

3. The comics have never said Wolverine has super-strength. He is extremely strong, which allows him to take a lot of punishment, but no more than a peak human like Captain America. If he was, then Wolverine would use it. Name the comic where he picked up and threw a car, jumped up three stories, or punched holes in steel with his bare fists. That's the kind of strength he would need to push a claw into solid concrete or rock.

4. I admit, that's mainly the movies.

5. Also good point

6. If you rip out his claws and he grows them back, then they're no longer covered in adamantium, because he can't create adamantium. Ripping out his adamantium claws would leave him with much weaker, less sharp bone claws. And Gladiator did successfully rip off one of Wolverine's claws in "Galactic Guardians #1." It didn't grow back, but that was an alternate reality.

Isaac Valenzuela said...

2. You don't have to imagine it, there's actually been panels showing the inside structure of Wolverine's arms, and yes, he has sheaths.

3. Wolverine does have super strength in the comics. See the time he curled an elevator with one arm, or, while underwater, punched somebody so hard that their head was embedded in concrete, or the times he's leaped from the ground to the top of a 40-foot Sentinels head in one go... yeah, he's strong enough. And that doesn't even take into account that,his claws are sharper than any scalpel, which makes it easier to pierce durable objects, and that's when they're not covered in adamantium!

6.Hulks tried, and failed. In canon, I don't see anyone else really having a shot at it either. Even when every muscle tissue and ligament have been burned to nothing, Wolverine's skeleton has remained whole (see the incident with Nitro.) His skeleton, including his claws, are all connected somehow, it's been shown time and again. The only instances of his adamantium claws being removed have all been non-canon, as you have acknowledged, so there's no valid evidence there.

Nigel Mitchell said...

2. Yes, which is funny. My point isn't whether it exists in the comics, but the fact that it's needed shows the lengths to which we need to configure his body to make the claws work.
3. The fact that Wolverine did something in the comics isn't an explanation. It means that he's written inconsistently. Let's take your example of Wolverine jumping to the top of a Sentinel. More commonly, Wolverine has needed help to get that high. Hence, the infamous "Fastball Special" where Colossus would throw Wolverine to heights he couldn't reach on his own.
6. The fact that Wolverine has been reduced to a skeleton with no ligaments and continued to stay connected is bad writing, not an explanation. It's always been stated in the comics that Wolverine's skeleton is simply bonded to Adamantium, not that he has some other aspect of his skeleton that's held together in indestructible ways. It's also besides the point. My argument is simply that the ligaments and tendons holding his claws are not invulnerable, hence are a weakness

Isaac Valenzuela said...

2. Well, if that's the way you see it, then fair enough, I guess. I think it's pretty cool that his writers thought about things deeply enough to actually explain it, but different strokes I guess.

3. I'm sorry, but it seems to me that you're the inconsistent one. First you ask for examples of his super strength, then when I give them to you, you say they don't matter? As for Wolverine's inconsistency, his astounding leaping ability is one of his most consistent traits- I can think of 10 times he's cleared 20 feat in a leap off of the top of my head. Yes, he uses the fastball special with Colossus, but that's typically to provide more power for his projectile attack, or to reach airborne foes, he deals fine with giant robots and dinosaurs on his own.

6. Hmmmm, this seems to be a theme with you, dismissing consistent portrayals as "bad writing." Even if it's never been explicitly said, he's been portrayed this way his entire career. Super strong foes have failed to tear his arms out of their sockets, incredibly skilled swordsman have failed to decapitate or de-limb him, and every time his body's been incinerated, every time, his skeleton has remained whole. Yes, the tendons and ligaments that shoot out and retract his claws are a weakness, Captain America has even used them against him, but you can't just rip his claws out of his arm - it would contradict his entire canon history.

Vishwa Soni said...

how do d claws go in and come out

Lochlan Bell said...

while I do see you logic

1. wolverine has extreme healing powers even if an infection did occur, his immune system would fight it off seconds after it entered his system

2. you forget his bones have been fused with adamantium which would mean they could support his claws. secondly, when, and i want you to think really hard about this, has a cat, or a lion or a tiger ever sliced them selves from the inside when they retract their claws?

3. wolverines claws are bone fused with adamantium (seen in origins) meaning they are connected, somehow, to his other bones, if you pushed on a wall your bones don't move so why would his claws. Also he has superhuman strength meaning he could punch through a wall

4. wolverines claws, when dormant, remain in his arms so how would he cut himself, even if he did, his self healing powers would heal any damage done

5. if you look at the original comics and even the cartoons (look in the picture you put there!!) wolverines claws come from the back of his hands, i think they are only further forward in the movies out of ease for special effects and visual editing etc. also, in the original comics and cartoons, wolverines hands are straight

6. while yes, his muscles etc are not indestructible, yet his healing ability would stop that, and your second point is ridiculous to try and rip out wolverines claws is like trying to pull a samarai sword from someone, you would end up shedding your hands and even if you did succeed in tearing them out, they would grow back, remember, his claws are not his only power, in one of the movies when magneto traps the x-men, wolverine sends his own claws through his body puncturing vital organs that otherwise would be fatal.

ashol said...

get hulk to pound his metal skull in.

Anonymous said...

healing effect through super soulder surums classified since world war 2 look at project paper clip and mk ultra of our gov. adamantium is in my best guess carbon tubles filled with the strongest yet flexible hybrid steel out there then titanium and diamonds in the right proportion along with ai nerlogical sercuits controlling servo driven nanobots powered by ultraconductors,in addition to ultra nano bots to heal the body, nano cyborg human hybrid is possible with all existing details yet to be disclosed by me. I some times want to do this to myself but I do not like to kill and I need a willing person of the build of the actor in xmen to create a bionic, nano ultracondoctor powered and enhanced the most disturbing monstrosity of destruction yet to thought of better than what any military has underground 1.5 miles down in any of their 1,777 bases. any one think I am bluffing? I am for real, I am street certified man, you mouse nerds need to open and become a real man nerd like me brilliant and I dare to question everything to get to the truth of any thing I want to know hidden knowledge about.

X-Women said...

Wolverine makes no logical sense in reality. 7 inches or 2 inches. Adamantium actually makes Logan's body heavier. The metal is fused to his skeletal structure, meaning his natural bone based claws. Now we all know other animals can move claws in an out, but Logan's claws come completely out of his arms. That's not normal.

Having to hold a very sharp object inside of one's body is impossible, unless his muscles were the same type of metal. He wouldn't even be able to move because the blades would cut through him and slide out of his arms with the slightest motion. Now his bone claws are a different story.

Gary J. Maxion said...

Here's the deal. Logan's claws are a blessing and a curse. I am sure that he has faced some of the problems that you have mentioned, but remember a few things: His claws are so sharp that they can penetrate almost anything with little effort. Secondly, he is a trained martial artist who can teach himself how to keep his hands and arms in the position that causes the least damage to himself when popping his claws.

Piedro said...

I'm an anatomy student, and if there is one thing I've noticed, it's that the human body is designed to work as a single unit. You can't chop and change much at all without compromising other structures or functions. There are muscles in the hand, wrist and forearm that are so complex that to sheer through any one of them would cause a dramatic change to the range and quality of movement for the whole limb. Not to mention the blood vessels, nerves, lymph nodes, ligaments and tendons that all play a part in normal function. Wolverines's claws would have to do this to work the way they do in comic books. There is no way any of this is possible without changing his anatomy drastically that Wolverine doesn't resemble anything human.

Suspend all disbelief when dealing with superpowers! You'll just drive yourselves crazy rationalising comics from a realistic perspective.

Nigel Mitchell said...

Great insight, thanks

Indiana Bones said...

He would have died of infections recently if he hadn't instead been doused with adamantium, so someone else at Marvel was thinking about these same issues. There's also a really gnarly panel from a recent comic.where Wolverine got drunk and extended the claws thru his.wrists. Ewwww

Indiana Bones said...

I thought that Wolverine had normal strength, but the adamantium gave him an extra edge. His punches could have more impact, considering his natural muscle and the metal under it all. I also believe he has to have natural sheaths for the claws. Why would his mutant physiology develop without them?

cdiddyf said...

Do you have down syndrome? Serious question. Because if so its ok that your trying to rationalize a comic book character. But if not this is just silly

Anonymous said...

so if his healing factor just repair his damaged skin, wouldnt it also make the muscle stronger? i mean thats how human muscles work but we need proteins in order to get our muscles healed and to get them stronger.so i n wolverines case that would work too,so if he does not have super strength, he will eventually.plus the adamantium metal would give him that edge.

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